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The latest attempt to shift New Hampshire away from daylight-savings switcheroos by putting us permanently on the Atlantic Standard Time (as long as Maine and Massachusetts do it first) is still alive: The House of Representatives has passed HB85 and it’s in committee in the Senate.

This has been a frequent effort in recent years – here’s a 2019 story about efforts then, which died in the state Senate. No matter what happens with the bill I’m sure the time switch will never actually happen, because we won’t do it unless Boston does and Boston won’t do it unless New York does and New York has no interest in the change. But it’s still a fun topic to discuss.

I recently reread “Seize the Daylight” by David Prerau. It’s a history of daylight savings time, which has been contentious since it was invented in the late 19th century. The debate was largely a rural-vs-urban one back then: Farmers hated it, city-goers liked it.

In 1920 Massachusetts became the first state to adopts DST after the 1919 repeal of a national version which had been adopted by the US and many other countries during World War I to save energy. The Boston & Maine Railroad loved the move because it coordinated Boston with New York – railroads basically invented time zones in order to make scheduling easier – but New Hampshire wasn’t happy: The book quotes a story in what was then Manchester Union that said we resented “forcing this obnoxious law upon the people of New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont.”

New Hampshire refused to adopt DST but, the book says, “both Nashua and Manchester officially kept standard time to avoid a $500 state fine, but many businesses advanced work time one hour to keep in step with Boston.” This keeping-two-times move was common around the country by businesses that had customers or suppliers in both DST and non-DST regions. Very confusing.

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